ATM Scammers Using Latest High-Tech Tools in Fresno - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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ATM Scammers Using Latest High-Tech Tools in Fresno

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A video shared by a Facebook user went viral on Sunday. It showed a perfectly placed overlay on a card reader at a Fresno convenience store. (Shutterstock)
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ATM scammers are back in Fresno, outwitting banks, convenience store owners, and customers with sophisticated new technology.

A video showing an overlay pad on a card reader at the 7-Eleven at Golden State and Shaw Avenue in Fresno has gone viral on social media, and the Fresno Police Department says it is aware of a few incidents of this happening.

“We have not received any increase in the use of skimmers recently, but they have always been a threat,” said Fresno Police Department spokesman Lt. Bill Dooley.

Viral Video Shows Device Stealing Customers’ Information in Fresno Convenience Store

Sgt. Martin VanOverbeek of the Financial Crimes Unit with Fresno PD said the overlay device over the ATM machine at the 7-Eleven is one of the most sophisticated he’s seen.

“It is designed to capture not only the card info but also the key inputs of a pin number,” said VanOverbeek. “Some have the ability to store the info and connect via Bluetooth while parked outside to download the skimmed card info.”

Joseph Harris, who shared the video on Facebook, has since shared another video that someone shared with him on messenger showing another overlay device on a card reader at a convenience store at Blackstone and Sierra avenues in Fresno.

Convenience Store Owners Unaware of Skimmers: Police

The video first went viral on Facebook and has since been shared on Twitter and Instagram. Many commenters put the blame on the convenience store owners — hinting that they could be in on the skimming heists.

However, VanOverbeek says that is not the case.

“Despite some of the negative comments on the business/employees, it is highly unlikely they knew the device was present,” said VanOverbeek.

“What has happened in the past is the clerk is distracted by another suspect asking to see something behind the counter or in the back of the store while the overlay is installed on a functional Point Of Sale device by a second suspect.”

In fact, a surveillance video of someone installing an overlay device was caught on camera last year at the Food Shop convenience store by the Valero off of Highway 41 and Jensen Avenue.

FOX26 News shared a  video showing how fast crooks can place these overlay devices on top of card readers.

Crooks Also Skimming Bank ATMs in Reedley

In another related incident reported by Fox 26 news, card skimmers were discovered five weeks ago at Bank of America in Reedley.

These card skimmers are paper-thin, inserted in the same slot where you slide in your card.

Sgt. Gary Kincaid of the Reedley Police Department is heading the investigation and says most people have no idea that these card skimmers are in there because they are well hidden.

“As you insert your card in, that’s gonna read the account number and those things,” said Kincaid.

Crooks attach a metal piece to the top or sides of the ATM machine that holds a camera inside with a memory card to record a person’s personal pin code.

“You can’t see them, they have little pinholes, and they look like they are part of the trim of the ATM machine,” said Kincaid.

Kincaid doesn’t know what the total losses are but says the thieves have tapped into accounts and also used the info to start new credit card accounts.

Reedley PD has made one arrest, and the suspect faces felony charges.

“I think it’s a well-versed group that has a lot of people taking part in this,” said Kincaid.

How to Protect Yourself When Using an ATM or Pin Pad

For Banking:

  • Hide your pin code.
  • Go inside the bank and use a teller.

For Purchasing:

  • Look at the Point of Sale device and even pull on it to see if an overlay is installed.
  • Always cover your pin number when entering it.
  • When possible, use the ATM inside of banks during business hours.
  • Set up account text and email alerts to regularly notify you when purchases are made over a threshold dollar amount.
  • Monitor your credit/debit activity online to confirm/verify charges.
  • If fraud is suspected, only call the number on the back of the card. Googling the number could connect you with scammers.
  • If fraud occurs, file a police report.

Liz Juarez joined GV Wire in July, 2021 as a Digital News Producer. She has experience working for publications around the Central Valley including the Clovis Roundup, Porterville Recorder and Hanford Sentinel. While in college, she interned for Mountain West Athletics and served as Outreach Chair for the Fresno State Radio and Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). Liz earned a bachelor's degree in Media Communications and Journalism at Fresno State and a master's degree in Communications from Arizona State University. In her down time, she enjoys reading, drawing and staying active by playing basketball, taking trips to the coast and visiting national parks. You can contact Liz at liz.juarez@gvwire.com